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April 18, 2014

Now Open: Chef Jose Garces’ Volvér At The Kimmel Center Debuts Its Complete Culinary Program And Ticketed Dining Experience

The culinary arts arrive at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts with the grand opening of Volvér, a brand-new restaurant and bar from Philadelphia's Iron Chef Jose Garces. (Photos by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)

When Philadelphia superchef Jose Garces joined forces with the marvelous Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts to provide all of the catering services within the arts center in 2013, we knew the match would be a megahit.

Now, the Garces Group expands its culinary-arts offerings at the Kimmel even further with the debut of Volvér, which is Spanish for “to return,” a splashy restaurant on the ground floor that offers two distinct dining experiences based on chef Jose Garces world travels — a first-come, first-served champagne bar and a ticketed theatrical dining adventure.

The Layout

 
Philadelphia architecture firm KieranTimberlake and interior designer Marguerite Rodgers created a stunning space in the area of the Kimmel that was formerly the gift shop.

The open-to-the-public restaurant within the arts center — a first for Philadelphia — makes for a grand new ground-floor destination, and further animates and activates this already multifaceted public gathering space, putting the spotlight on the variety of diverse arts programming now available throughout the Kimmel Center.

The Food and Drink

 
Last week, Bar Volvér, the restaurant’s champagne and caviar lounge, welcomed its first guests with a menu that heavily revolves around its 1,500-bottle deep wine list, which features more than 50 sparkling varietals.

To pair with the sparklers, diners can order such haute bar snacks as caviar, charcuterie and cheese, as well as small plates like oyster tartare with horseradish cream cheese foam and black truffle concentrate. For the complete menu, check here.

As of this week, both the bar and dining room are open and ready for service, launching what can be thought of as a spring season for this new culinary arts space.

During each two nightly seatings, carefully composed multi-course tasting menus created by chef Garces and chef de cuisine Natalie Maronski will be served from a completely open kitchen, revealing nearly the entire back-of-house culinary process and offering diners a behind-the-scenes look into the culinary process.

With service nightly Wednesday through Sunday, the dining room at Volvér offers two menus: a pre-theater tasting and a grand performance tasting. For the pre-theater tasting option, the menu features eight courses and ranges from $75 to $120 per person. Later, a second seating — the “Performance” — starts with a first course of four snacks, followed by a staggering 12 courses for $175 to $250 per person. For both seatings, beverage pairings or a la carte beverages are available.

From the exhibition kitchen, diners can expect gorgeously composed plates at both services that are works of art in and of themselves. A collaborative menu-development process between Garces, Maronski and the entire back-of-house staff gave way to a host of creative dishes. Each plate tells a story, too, of Garces’ life and travels that will be revealed during dinner service.

Inspired plates include the likes of a garden tasting with live lettuces from Garces’ Luna Farm; deviled egg duck liver mousse; Wagyu beef cooked on embers with beet root crema; and Monterey Bay squid stuffed with house-made green curry tapioca and coconut bubbles, and so much more.

The menus will certainly evolve with the restaurant, and with the talented kitchen staff amassed by chefs Garces and Maronski, we expect nothing short of feats of culinary splendor. For the current dining room menus, check here.

Tickets

 
Hardly a traditional reservation system, tickets to the dining room at Volvér are akin to theater or sporting event tickets and are available for parties of two, four or six. For more information on reservations and to book dining tickets, check online.

Remember, though, that Bar Volvér is always open on a first-come, first-served basis — no ticket required.

Now that the complete dining offerings are on the table at Volvér, the culinary arts truly have a solid presence within the sprawling performing arts center on the Avenue of the Arts.

Don’t miss the show.

Volvér
When: Bar Volvér, Wednesday-Sunday, 4-11 p.m.; Dining room, Wednesday-Sunday, 5-11 p.m.
Where: Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce streets
Cost: $75-$250
More info: www.volverrestaurant.com

Previously: Opening Alert: Bar Volvér At The Kimmel Center For The Performing Arts Opens Today, Wednesday, April 9; The Dining Room To Open April 16

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April 18, 2014

Awesome News Alert: Spruce Street Harbor Park To Pop Up On The Delaware River Waterfront This Summer With A Floating Restaurant, Hammock Lounge, Urban Beach And More

Spruce Street Harbor Park will transform the Delaware River Waterfront into a magical summertime destination starting the last weekend in June and running for two months, though August. (Image courtesy Delaware River Waterfront Corporation)

Seriously stupendous news today, Philadelphia. This June, the Delaware River Waterfront will morph into Spruce Street Harbor Park, taking the perennial good times of summer on Penn’s Landing — outdoor concerts, movies, fireworks — to a whole new level.

From Friday, June 27 through Sunday, August 31, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation — the folks that brought us this past winter’s Waterfront Winterfest at the Blue Cross RiverRink — transforms the Penn’s Landing Marina at Columbus Boulevard and Spruce Street into a pop-up summertime village.

Penn’s Landing has long been an awesome hub of good times in the summer months, with annual programming like the PECO multicultural festival series, concerts at the RiverStage, Screenings Under the Stars and Smooth Jazz Summer Nights.

In 2014, though, all of those annual festivals and events will be enriched by what promises to be an amazing two-month-long placemaking installation.

Read on for a rundown of what’s coming to Penn’s Landing and get ready to spend the summer on the water.

Count us in.

The Layout

 
Spruce Street Harbor Park opens on Friday, June 27 and is currently slated to remain open through Sunday, August 31. Throughout the two months, visitors to the waterfront will be able to take advantage of all of the festivals, concerts and movies at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, as well as the amenities of the pop-up park — mostly (if not all) completely free of charge.

Developed in conjunction with David Fierabend of Groundswell Design Group, Interface Studios and Digsau, Spruce Street Harbor Park will include both built-out landscaping and on-site programming all aimed at reminding the city of the waterfront’s awesome maritime history and ever-developing future (have you read the cool plans in the Central Delaware master plan?).

The Penn’s Landing Marina, the site of the park, already features the Paddle Penn’s Landing program, the Moshulu, the Independence Seaport Museum, the Olympia and Becuna, the Hyatt Regency at Penn’s Landing, the Chart House and the Spirit of Philadelphia and the Spirit Elite.

Once Spruce Street Harbor Park opens, the riverside entertainment will extend south from the Independence Seaport Museum to include temporary elements like a floating pop-up restaurant, a hammock lounge, fire pits, boardwalk, mister walk and urban beach.

Of all the pop-up features, the coolest might just be the “The Oasis,” a floating construction to house a restaurant and bar made up of three barges, a lily pad water garden, seating and incredible-sounding nets that will extend out over the river, putting visitors right over the Delaware’s cool waters.

On land, parkgoers can hang out in oversized hammocks, around fire pits near the Columbus Monument, along a riverfront boardwalk, under umbrellas on the urban beach and beneath cooling misters.

The Food & Drink

 
Though not all of the details have been announced, visitors to Spruce Street Harbor Park can definitely expect excellent food and drink options from concessioners along the boardwalk and from the pop-up restaurant and bar situated on the area dubbed “The Oasis,” the three floating barges.

If the presenting crews’ chef-driven offerings at its wintertime pop-up, Waterfront Winterfest, are an indication of what’s on tap for this summer, we can all rest assured the grub will be on point.

Stay tuned for more on what promises to be a sensational summertime destination.

Spruce Street Harbor Park
When: Friday, June 27 through Sunday, August 31
Where: 401 S. Columbus Boulevard at Spruce Street
Cost: Free admission
More info: www.delawareriverwaterfront.com
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April 18, 2014

The Valley Forge Revolutionary Run Returns With A 5-Mile Run, 3-Mile Walk And Youth Run On Sunday, April 27

The Valley Forge Revolutionary 5-mile Run, a fundraiser for Valley Forge National Historical Park, returns to the park's historic grounds on Sunday, April 27. (Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)

On Sunday, April 27, run through the scenic Valley Forge National Historical Park at the annual Valley Forge Revolutionary five-mile run.

Three components make up the annual event; a five-mile run, a three-mile walk and 1.776 kilometer Young Patriots Fun Run for children ages 6 to 14.

The five-mile run is set to kick-off at 8:30 a.m., the three-mile walk leaves at 8:35 a.m. and the Young Patriots Fun Run is slated for 8:50 a.m. Participants are strongly encouraged to arrive well before their race start time.

Take note, the five-mile run is anything but a cakewalk, it promises participants a true challenge as the course winds through steep hills.

The Young Patriots Fun Run walks children past the camp sites at the historic park where leaders teach participants about President George Washington’s winter encampment at Valley Forge.

Registration costs vary depending on the race you sign up for and when you sign up. Click here for more information about registration and to register for the annual run.

Parking is available at 1000 First Avenue where a shuttle bus will transport guests to the park from 6:30 to 8 a.m.

Proceeds benefit the upkeep of the parks and trails at Valley Forge National Historical Park.

For more on the run, check out the video below.

Valley Forge Revolutionary Run
When: Sunday, April 27, 8:30 a.m.
Where: Valley Forge National Historical Park, 1400 N. Outer Line Dr, King of Prussia
Cost: Varies
More info: www.valleyforge.org
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April 18, 2014

Weekend Picks: Easter Festivities Across The City, Farm Fest At The Oval, Center City Jazz Festival, Opening Weekend Of The Franklin Flea Indoor Market And More

Happy Easter weekend, Philadelphia! Celebrate the spring holiday with an array of alfresco events, prix-fixe dinners, egg hunts, shopping events, museum specials and more all weekend long. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

Happy Easter, Philadelphia!

With the Easter holiday comes a score of themed dinners, brunches and events in neighborhoods across the city. From family-friendly egg hunts and prix-fixe brunch to South Street’s annual Easter promenade an Easter Sunday Zombie Bar Crawl, the happening are nearly endless.

The Franklin Flea indoor market returns for a new season of vintage and handmade treasure-hunting at the historic Strawbridge’s Building. Plus, on opening day which is Saturday, April 19, chef Eli Kulp of High Street on Market brings artisan sandwiches, spiked punch and canned beer to the space.

The Oval, the pop-up park on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, hosts a slew of open-air fun as it presents Farm Fest at The Oval complete with craft beer, live music, games, food trucks, local drinks from nearby farms, a petting zoo and more.

Plus, we just updated our brunch guide for spring 2014, so read it, bookmark it and definitely use it.

This weekend’s weather forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and temps in the mid-60s making for an ideal weekend to enjoy an array of alfresco events.

Our top picks for this weekend, below.

Friday, April 18

 
Top Pick: Farm Fest at The Oval (Fri, Sat)

Top Pick: Manayunk Restaurant Week (Fri, Sat)

Top Pick: Philadelphia Book Festival (Fri, Sat)

Top Pick: Art After 5 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art presents Kavita Shah

Top Pick: Colonial Spring Break at the National Constitution Center (Fri, Sat, Sun)

Philadelphia Queer Passover

Spanish Fish Fry at Jamonera

Treasures from Korea at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Fri, Sat, Sun)

Passover Menu at Cantina Feliz

Dinner Idea — Check out the new Cafe Ynez in Point Breeze

Hayrides to Bunnyland at Linvilla Orchards (Fri, Sat)

Native American Voices: The People — Here and Now at the Penn Museum

Boy George at the TLA

Yinka Shonibare MBE: Magic Ladders at The Barnes Foundation (Fri, Sat, Sun)

Paint Night

Jefferson, Philadelphia, and the Founding of a Nation at the American Philosophical Society Museum

Sendak in the ’60s at the Rosenbach Museum and Library

The Train Driver at St. Stephen Theater (Fri, Sat, Sun)

MONDO Mausoleum Party at PhilaMOCA

Saturday, April 19

 
Top Pick: Our Brand-New Guide to Brunch in Philadelphia (Sat, Sun)

Top Pick: Opening Weekend of the Franklin Flea at the Historic Strawbridge’s Building

Top Pick: Center City Jazz Festival

Top Pick: Memphis Taproom’s 6th Birthday and the Reopening of the Beer Garden

Morris Arboretum’s Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival

PHAIR Open-Air Market

Pop-Up Museum 2014: Sin & Salvation at Eastern State Penitentiary (Fri, Sat, Sun)

Egg Hunt at The Oval

Mexico and Central America Tour at The Penn Museum

Easter Egg Hunt at Clark Park

More happenings, below. (more…)

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April 18, 2014

Now Open: Cafe Ynez, A BYOB Restaurant In Point Breeze That Delights With Mexico City-Style Diner Fare

Visit the brand-new Cafe Ynez, a BYOB Mexico City-style diner located at 2025 Washington Avenue. (Image courtesy Cafe Ynez)

Looking for south-of-the-border flavors beyond Center City?

Jill Weber and Evan Malone, the husband and wife duo behind Jet Wine Bar and Rex 1516, recently opened the doors to their brand-new Mexico City-themed diner, Cafe Ynez.

Located in Point Breeze directly adjacent to NextFab Studio, a workspace and studio for local artisans (which is also owned by Malone), the 25-seat BYOB promises diners breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekdays and brunch on the weekend.

Upon entry, guests are greeted with banquet seating created by the folks next door at NextFab Studio along with a number of hand-crafted Aztec accessories, too.

The Mexican menu, crafted by Executive Chef JC Piña of Jet Wine Bar, supplies guests with appealing plates like vegetarian enchiladas, chicken enchiladas, seasonal soups, tilapia tacos and breakfast burritos.

In addition to traditional Mexican fare, Cafe Ynez serves up rotisserie chicken roasted on-site and available to-go by the whole or half chicken for the affordable price of $15 for the whole chicken with three sides, and $10 for a half chicken with two sides.

For those looking for a quick midday bite, Cafe Ynez boasts a take-out corner just for to-go lunch options.

During the week, diners also have the option to indulge in homemade Mexican pastries from a local bakery while sipping Café L’Aube coffee.

Guests of Cafe Ynez are encouraged to bring their own booze to pair with the restaurant’s affordable fare. The folks behind the counter offer house-made margarita (think watermelon and mint!), sangria and mojito mixers.

During the warmer months, guests are encouraged to dine alfresco at a number of tables that will line the sidewalk.

Cafe Ynez is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on the weekends from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cafe Ynez
When: Now Open
Where: 2025 Washington Avenue
Cost: Pay as you go
More info: www.cafeynez.com

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April 18, 2014

Roundup: The Best Brunch Spots In Philadelphia – Uwishunu’s Brunch Guide Updated For Spring 2014

Philadelphia offers almost innumerable options in every corner of the city for brilliant weekend brunches. Here, we've rounded up our top picks for spring 2014. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

Weekends were made for brunching — chatting with friends, digging into a stack of syrupy pancakes, lingering over a latte or a Bloody Mary.

Brunch is the most important meal of the weekend, and with the start of the spring season, we thought it was high time to revisit our roundup of brilliant Philadelphia brunches.

This city sure knows how to brunch — and we’ve got the list to prove it.

We’ve poured over the nearly endless options for brunching in the City of Brotherly Love, and here offer up more than 100 picks for superlative weekend starters in the neighborhoods of Philadelphia.

With more than a handful of newcomers to the brunch scene, as well as the time-honored standards and on-trend hotspots, Philadelphia brunchgoers have plenty of go-to spots for a late-morning or early-afternoon meal.

Plus, to make this list a bit more digestible, we’ve called out key information for each restaurant including which days brunch is served and particulars like alfresco seating, live music, special-occasion appropriate (bring the parents), family-friendly accommodations (bring the wee ones), vegetarian-friendly menus (hello, tofu scramble), and excellent adult beverages (read: Bloody Marys to die for).

Of course, this list doesn’t include every single brunching option in Philadelphia. So, as always, please let us know your favorite neighborhood brunch spots via our tips line or in the comments below.

Note: Prices and menu items mentioned are accurate as of the published date; always check with the restaurant for the latest prices and dishes.

Newcomers

 
The Gaslight: Old City. Chef Jason Cichonski, a recent cheftestant on Top Chef New Orleans and chef/co-owner of Ela in Queen Village, brings his culinary talents to Old City at The Gaslight, a casual American eatery where brunch is served all day on Sunday from a menu including decadent-sounding sticky bun-style waffles, coddled eggs with corned-beef hash, smoked salmon with crispy capers, buttermilk fried chicken and a big burger. Of the nearly dozen brunch-specific cocktails, diners might just carry a torch for the kimchi Bloody Mary with cucumber vodka. Sunday Only | Brunch Cocktails

a.kitchen: Rittenhouse Square. Though not a brand-new restaurant, per se, neighborhood favorite a.kitchen feels fresh thanks to the partnership between the culinary minds at a.kitchen and the team behind acclaimed Old City establishments Fork and High Street on Market — chef Eli Kulp and owner Ellen Yin. Chef Kulp developed entirely new menus for the Rittenhouse dining destination, and brunch now brings such plates as freshly baked pastries, soft scrambled eggs with sea urchin, French toast with rhubarb and a chicken-fried pork cutlet with fried eggs and black-pepper gravy. We say, welcome to the neighborhood. Saturday & Sunday | Alfresco Seating | Brunch Cocktails

Tela’s Market & Cafe: Fairmount. With an appealing lineup of fine groceries, on-site coffee bar and a whole menu of prepared goods and cafe-style fare, Tela’s Market & Cafe makes for an ideal all-day neighborhood destination. Daily breakfast fare makes for a fine weekend brunch, too, with staples like buttermilk pancakes, house-made granola and a breakfast burrito brimming with chorizo, fried eggs and potato hash. Daily | To-Go

Indeblue: Midtown Village. Crossing over the river from Collingswood, New Jersey, IndeBlue delivers freshly conceived modern Indian cuisine for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Set to the dulcet tunes of a live sitar player, brunchgoers can start the day with traditional lentil rice crepes, a paneer scramble or with a sweet American-Indian fusion of challah bread French toast with mango cinnamon cream cheese and cardamom maple syrup. Sunday Only | Live Music

The Good King Tavern: Bella Vista. Charming French brasserie The Good King Tavern is an inviting locale for an eye-opening cocktail and homey brunch fare on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Chef Paul Lyons whips up nearly every component in-house on plates like smoked salmon tartines, croque madames with Mornay sauce, leek bread pudding, and poached eggs with house-made bread, breakfast sausage and charred scallion pistou. Don’t pass on a classic cocktail or pichet of chardonnay. Friday, Saturday & Sunday | Brunch Cocktails

Sancho Pistola’s: Fishtown. The second venture for partners Casey Parker, Joe Gunn and Adan Trinidad, Sancho Pistola’s now supplies Fishtown with the same super-quality modern Mexican fare, choice craft brews and cocktails that have earned Jose Pistola’s in Center City raves. The chill eatery’s Saturday and Sunday brunch service keeps things simple by offering a $30 prix-fixe option including one appetizer (go for the tortilla soup), one entree, one side and unlimited mimosas, margaritas or Bloody Marys for two hours. The entire brunch menu is available à la carte, too. Saturday & Sunday | Brunch Cocktails

Rosa Blanca: Washington Square West. Philadelphia star chef Jose Garces’ Cuban diner, Rosa Blanca, joins the Washington Square West neighborhood to serve up an unfussy daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, and huevos are on the menu everyday, all day. The affordable desayuno menu (served all day) is anchored by a two-egg platter that comes with a choice of two sides (fried plantains, crispy pork belly and black beans and rice, among other options). Daily | To-Go

Porto: East Passyunk. As the former home of Carmen’s Country Kitchen, it seems that this address is destined for brunch greatness. South Philly’s diminutive bruncher Porto executes big flavors, loosely drawn from Portuguese cuisine. Patrons can pick from the shrimp omelet with spicy piri-piri sauce, the bacalhau cakes over linguica and black olive hash, among many other options. Saturday & Sunday

Vegan Commissary: East Passyunk. Start a meatless morning at Vegan Commissary with spicy miso soup, breakfast wrap, tempeh hash with poached avocado, quinoa porridge, or veggie biscuits and gravy. This casual wholly vegan, cash-only eatery switches up options via its chalkboard menu regularly, so call ahead to check what’s cooking. Saturday & Sunday | Veg Friendly | BYO

Bank & Bourbon: Market East. After a complete renovation of the ground-floor dining room, Bank & Bourbon debuted adjacent to the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. Helmed by chef Thomas Harkins, the kitchen serves a host of daily breakfast dishes featuring modern updates on American staples — think smoked salmon plates, biscuits with ham and eggs, and lemon-ricotta pancakes. Daily

The Avenue Delicatessen: Landsdowne. Until 3 p.m. daily, The Avenue Delicatessen in historic Lansdowne — minutes from Center City — and its creative chef Laura Frangiosa serves up eggs to order, challah French toast, corned beef hash and the classic Jewish plate of whitefish salad, chive cream cheese, tomato, cucumber, red onion on a bagel. Daily

Cafe Ynez: Point Breeze.The latest outpost from Jill Weber and Evan Malone, the husband and wife duo behind Jet Wine Bar and Rex 1516, Cafe Ynez promises brunchers Mexico City-inspired fare from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. The menu appeals to many a palate with items like breakfast burritos, veggie enchiladas and chicken chilaquiles. Bring a bottle of your favorite booze to pair with the restaurant’s house-made mixers and call it a morning. Saturday & Sunday | BYO
 

When the weather is fine, Philadelphians don't miss an opportunity to hit up sidewalk tables — like those at Parc — and secret patios to enjoy a weekend brunch. (Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)

Rittenhouse Square

 
Parc: Oui, monsieur, we will take another of those delicious bread baskets. Parc’s brunch menu just gets better after the freshly baked bread, with a perfect quiche Lorraine, chicken paillard, pommes frites and other French plates that pair perfectly with prime Rittenhouse Square people-watching from the abundant and much-coveted alfresco tables. Breakfast at Parc is served weekdays, and brunch is reserved for the weekends. Saturday & Sunday | Alfresco Seating

Lacroix: Housed in the tony Rittenhouse hotel, Lacroix serves a superb Sunday brunch prix-fixe menu ($69 per person) featuring a sumptuous spread of appetizers, raw-bar specialties, a chef’s table hot buffet and more. An always-decadent dessert service rounds out the offerings. This is a special-occasion brunch that surely will not disappoint. Sunday Only | Special Occasion

Fitler Dining Room: Chef Robert Marzinsky’s Fitler Dining Room Sunday brunch service is an excellent incentive roll out of bed earlier on Sunday mornings. Look for sophisticated raw bar selections like New Jersey fluke crudo, composed salads of spiced carrots and refined morning standards including omelets, French toast and house-made sausage and porkroll. Sunday Only | Brunch Cocktails

Village Whiskey: Iron Chef Jose Garces’ American comfort food tastes just as good for brunch as it does for dinner. The impressive whiskey menu at Village Whiskey plays second string to the hearty plates of biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits, French toast and — of course — the always satisfying, massive burgers. But, remember what this speakeasy-style restaurant is known for (yup, cocktails) and don’t skip the bay-infused vodka Bloody Mary. Alfresco Seating | Saturday & Sunday | Brunch Cocktails

Spread Bagelry: The Montreal-style wood-oven fired bagels at Spread Bagelry pair perfectly with a BYO vodka-spiked $2 shaker of spicy Bloody Mary mix during brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Rounded out with live tunes on the weekends, breakfast sandwiches like the Nova Scramble and homemade spreads like sweet berry cream cheese, it’s easy to understand the mass appeal of this casual bagel shop. Saturday & Sunday | BYO | To-Go | Live Music

El Rey: Stephen Starr’s bustling Mexican diner, El Rey, dishes specialties from south of the border like huevos rancheros and chilaquiles. Wash the chiles down with a tart margarita or a spicy Bloody Maria, made with tequila instead of vodka. Saturday & Sunday | Brunch Cocktails

Nineteen: The prix-fixe three-course brunch at chic Nineteen (XIX) at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue begins with continental pastries, continues with egg and waffle entrees, and wraps with a full dessert table for $35 per person. The sweeping bird’s-eye city views elevate the whole experience. Sunday Only | Special Occasion

Metropolitan Cafe: Though a meal may be made solely of Metropolitan Bakery’s fantastic just-baked breads and pastries, at Metropolitan Cafe daily brunching options reach beyond baked goods with a modest menu spanning house-cured salmon to creative grilled cheese. Daily | BYO | To-Go

Continental Midtown: Nighttime revelers keep the party going into the a.m. at The Continental Restaurant and Martini Bar and its sibling The Continental Mid-town, with brioche French toast, bananas foster belgian waffles or a turkey club with caramelized apple mayo, all of which can be accompanied by a bacon-infused Bloody Mary. Saturday & Sunday | Brunch Cocktails

The Dandelion: Stephen Starr’s British-inspired pub in Rittenhouse Square is known for its awesome burger and fish and chips, but the brunch menu is its hidden gem. Scotch pancakes with glazed apples and cinnamon-tinged cream or a full English breakfast with blood sausage and baked beans are a spot-on start to a weekend day. But once you get one of the The Dandelion’s signature cocktails in hand — like the Beer Flip or Pimm’s Cup — you may not want to do anything at all except linger. Saturday & Sunday | Brunch Cocktails

Cafe L’Aube: Crepe craving? Located in Fairmount and Rittenhouse Square, the cozy French Cafe L’Aube offers breakfast and lunch (i.e. brunch) seven days a week. L’Aube serves its own micro-batch roasted L’Aube Torrefaction coffee and has free wireless. What’s not to love? Daily | To-Go

Square 1682: Brunch at Hotel Palomar’s recently renovated Square 1682 means locally sourced, sophisticated American fare with excellent cocktails to boot. Saturday & Sunday | Alfresco Seating | Brunch Cocktails

Day By Day: A Philadelphia catering institution since 1981, Day by Day at 21st and Sansom streets also serves a mean brunch to a dedicated local following. The stuffed challah French toast is seriously good (even though it’s not the size of your head, as at Sabrina’s — which may be a good thing), and make sure you order at least one thing from the specials menu. Saturday & Sunday

Farm To City Farmers’ Markets: In 2014, Farm to City rolls out 16 farmers’ markets around town, including the always-bustling year-round Rittenhouse Square market every Saturday. Plenty of brunch-appropriate goods abound — from fresh breads to lovely lemonade and more. To-Go | Saturday Only

Oyster House: Massive crowds may turn out at Oyster House for the daily buck-a-shuck happy hour, but the ever-changing Saturday brunch at this East Coast seafood-staple deserves recognition, too. From an always-excellent array of bivalves to fishcake hash, a lobster Benedict and tip-top Bloody Marys, Oyster House’s fruits of the sea give way to a satisfying start to the weekend. Saturday Only | Brunch Cocktails
 

During peak harvest season, take brunch off of the table and into one of the city's many farmers' markets for a perfect picnic. (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

Midtown Village and Washington Square West

 
Talula’s Daily: Mere steps from Talula’s Garden, the first joint venture from restaurateurs Aimee Olexy and Stephen Starr, Talula’s Daily brings the same high quality of fare diners have come to associate with the moniker “Talula,” but in a far more accessible way. For brunch, sip La Colombe coffee, munch frittatas, quiche, freshly baked quick breads, scones and croissants or grab a yogurt parfait or house granola. Daily | Alfresco Seating | To-Go

Talula’s Garden: Stephen Starr and Aimee Olexy’s Washington Square spot offers elegant plates starring local ingredients during its Sunday brunch, like the sweet ricotta crepes with house-made ricotta or the omelet with Green Meadow ham and Lancaster pepper jack cheese. And for those who prefer garden views (which are aplenty) with a splash of liquor, there are cocktails like The Optimist featuring citrus vodka, sweet tea, huckleberry and lemon. Sunday Only | Alfresco Seating | Special Occasion

Strangelove’s: Midtown Village gets another spot to quaff morning and night in Strangelove’s, a microbrew lover’s fantasy, where 18 tap lines and two cask-conditioned ales complement chef Paul Martin’s Southern-touched menu. For brunch, go for shrimp and grits, poached eggs with chaurice sausage or duck and sausage gumbo. Saturday & Sunday | Brunch Cocktails

El Vez: Stephen Starr’s Mexican spot in Midtown Village has a Mexi-style Sunday brunch. Pair your crab and corn omelet, breakfast burrito or steak and egg chilaquiles with a blood orange mimosa — the a.m. take on the super-popular blood orange margarita. Sunday Only | Alfresco Seating | Brunch Cocktails

Garces Trading Co.: If you haven’t tried Jose Garces’ GTC for brunch, it’s time for a return visit. The Saturday and Sunday brunch menu is a bite right out of the Mediterranean with a frittata, croque-madame sandwiches, a Lyonnaise duck salad and so much more. The $22 prix-fixe menu option includes your choice of one start, one main and one dessert plus unlimited Garces Trading Company Coffee. Done and done. Saturday & Sunday | Alfresco Seating

Varga Bar: Chef Evan Turney’s spot in Washington Square West offers creative, kicked-up American food by night, and equally compelling brunch dishes by weekend day. And with a knowledgeable bar staff to guide you through the more than a dozen beers on tap, there’s no way you’ll go thirsty during a meal here. Saturday & Sunday | Alfresco Seating | Brunch Cocktails

Jones: Stephen Starr’s take on the The Brady Bunch living room delivers on the brunch front in a way that would make Carol proud. You must order the shareable monkey bread, served gooey and hot, followed by any of the delicious egg dishes (spinach and feta omelet with tater tots, smoked salmon Benedict). And don’t forget the brunch cocktails. Saturday & Sunday | Family Friendly | Brunch Cocktails

Kanella: Take a mini vacation to the Greek isle of Cyprus at this Washington Square BYOB, where the brunch menu features flavorful goodies like crepes stuffed with manouri cheese and drizzled with carob syrup; eggs stewed in tomato and pepper with grilled bread; and ground lamb flatbreads with pistachios. Kanella serves brunch Friday through Sunday. Friday, Saturday & Sunday | BYO | Alfresco Seating

Mixto: Every day feels like Sunday at Mixto, a Cuban/Columbian hotspot on Pine Street’s Antique Row. The daily breakfast offerings include Argentinean steak and eggs, frittata Colombiana and tostadas rancheras. Bonus: sunny outdoor seating in the warm months. Daily | Alfresco Seating

Amis: Brunch at Amis is a little under the radar, but that’s actually a good thing. The Sunday brunch menu transports diners to Italy with perfect pastas and other fare: baked pecorino with almond honey, salumi misti and house-made polenta scrapple. Also, don’t sleep on the Cannonball. Sunday Only | Alfresco Seating

Valanni: Valanni has Saturday and Sunday brunch, and the offerings are unbeatable. Think caramelized apple and strawberry cream french toast; and the “Valanni Hangover,” two eggs any style, pancakes, chorizo or bacon and roasted potatoes accompanied by a virgin Bloody Mary. Saturday & Sunday | Alfresco Seating

Reading Terminal Market: The Reading Terminal Market, established in 1892 at 12th and Arch streets, is the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmers’ market and has emerged in the 21st century as one of the greatest public markets in the country. Enjoy eating virtually every type of cuisine, from sublime soul food and exquisite Asian and Middle Eastern dishes to authentic Philly Cheesesteaks and traditional Pennsylvania Dutch fare — all available from largely family-run stands. Daily | Family Friendly

Many, many more brunch picks, below. (more…)

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April 17, 2014

Tonight Picks: Farm Fest At The Oval, Beer And Cheese Happy Hour At DiBruno Bros, Third Thursdee At Pizza Brain, The Flyers Vs. The Rangers In The Stanley Cup Playoffs, Bunny Hop Bar Crawl And More

Tonight marks opening night for Farm Fest at The Oval which is slated to take place at the pop-up park over the next three days, look forward to a Victory Brewing Company beer garden, food truck fare, games, music and more. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

From an after-work festival to an Easter-themed bar crawl, the city is a hub of nighttime activity this evening.

Tonight, The Oval, the pop-up park on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, presents its first Oval-branded programming of the year with Farm Fest, a three-day festival complete with a Victory Brewing Company Mobile Beer Garden, live bluegrass music, food trucks, games and more. Stop by for some after-work alfresco activities.

DiBruno Bros. at The Franklin debuts its free beer and cheese happy hour, a full night of after-work sips and eats while learning about the art of cheese pairing.

Pizza Brain and Little Baby’s Ice Cream team up for their recurring Third Thursdee event, a three-way figurative food fight between the two neighboring eateries and one guest business. Tonight, welcome Tired Hands Brewery for pizza, ice cream and beer collaboration.

The Flyers take on The Rangers in their first game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so cheer on the home team while sipping a beer at any one of the popular sports bars in the area.

The Fairmount neighborhood celebrates Easter a few days early with its annual Bunny Hop bar crawl. Head out for Blue Moon beer specials at 13 participating bars and the opportunity to don a pair of festive bunny ears.

Our top picks for tonight, below.

Farm Fest at The Oval: Raise a craft beer to The Oval’s spring programming! Tonight marks the first night of Farm Fest at The Oval, the pop-up parks’ first Oval-branded event of the season. From 5 to 9 p.m., sip beer from Victory Brewpub’s Mobile Beer Garden, enjoy eats from food trucks, live bluegrass music, games and a discussion from the folks at GRID Magazine.

When: Thursday, April 17, 5-9 p.m.
Where: Eakins Oval, 24th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost: Free

DiBruno Bros. Franklin Market Cheese Happy Hour: Tonight is night one of the DiBruno Bros. at Franklin Market’s free cheese and beer happy hour. Tonight from 5 to 7 p.m., sip brews from Southern Tier Brewing Company while enjoying a cheese pairing, too. Beer and cheese samples are completely free, just bring your appetite.

When: Thursday, April 17, 5-7 p.m.
Where: DiBruno Bros. Franklin Market, 9th and Sansom
Cost: Free

Third Thursdee at Pizza Brain: The third Thursday of the month means a team up between Pizza Brain, Little Baby’s and one guest small business. Tonight, the Fishtown neighbors welcome Tired Hands Brewery in for a night of inspired pizza toppings and ice cream flavors for this month’s Third Thursdee event. Look forward to a pizza topped with candied bacon, kimchi, hoisin béchamel and garlic roasted peanuts and a lemon basil maple smoked ice cream. Also, be sure to sip the collaboration beer in Pizza Brain’s backyard, too.

When: Thursday, April 17, 6-9 p.m.
Where: Pizza Brain, 2313 Frankford Avenue
Cost: Pay as you go

Philadelphia Flyers vs. The New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs: Cheer on the Flyers as they take on the Rangers in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. While the game is taking place at Madison Square Garden, plenty of bars are sure to be streaming the game, check out Visit Philly’s guide to sports bars for some where-to-watch suggestions.

When: Thursday, April 17, 7 p.m.
Where: Streamed on CNBC and TSN
Cost: Free

Fairmount Bunny Hop: Tonight, 13 of Fairmount’s bars are slated to serve up drink specials for all those participating in the annual Fairmount Bunny Hop, an Easter pub crawl. For $10 don a pair of bunny ears and hop (or, walk) from bar to bar and enjoy Blue Moon drink specials at participating locations. Participating bars include Belgian Cafe, La Calaca Feliz and London Grill. Crawlers, be sure to start at Brown Street Pub or Urban Saloon to claim your bunny ears.

When: Thursday, April 17, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Participating locations
Cost: $10 entry; Drinks, pay as you go

Philadelphia Film Festival Spring Showcase: It’s the final night of the Philadelphia Film Festival’s Spring Showcase. Head to the PFS Theater at The Roxy for an Alfonso Cuarón retrospective. Cuarón is an Academy Award-winning director who is known for films like Gravity and Paris, je t’aime. Tonight, catch screenings of Gravity at 9 p.m. and Children of Men at 6 p.m. Screenings are just $6 each.

When: Thursday, April 17
Where: PFS Theater at The Roxy, 2023 Sansom Street
Cost: Pay as you go

Manayunk Restaurant Week: Your dinner plans are set. Enter Manayunk Restaurant Week, nearly two weeks of dinner deals at some of the neighborhood’s most popular restaurants. Depending on the restaurant, three-course dinners ring in at $15, $25 or $35. Restaurants including Taqueria Feliz, Manayunk Brewing Company and Derek’s Restaurant are all slated to participate. Click here to check out the full list of participating restaurants and their restaurant week menus.

When: Thursday, April 17
Where: Participating Restaurants
Cost: $15, $25 or $35 plus gratuity and tip

More happenings, below. (more…)

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April 17, 2014

Awesome Event Alert: The Sprung Graduate Hospital Bar Crawl Returns To South Street West On Saturday, April 26

Visit some of Graduate Hospital's most popular bars on Saturday, April 26 at the Sprung Bar Crawl featuring awesome food and drink deals. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

With a slew of bars and restaurants all concentrated in a few short blocks, the Graduate Hospital neighborhood makes for a super location for a bar hop.

On Saturday, April 26, Sprung, a springtime pub crawl takes over South Street West, brought to you by the good people from the South Street West Business Association.

An $8 donation in advance and $12 on the day of the event grants partiers access to food and drink specials at nine participating bars.

The list of participants includes the likes of Pub and Kitchen, The Cambridge, Grace, Bob and Barbara’s, Jet Wine Bar, Doobie’s and Tangier.

The crawl is an afternoon event, running from 1 to 7 p.m., and if you’re looking to extend the fun even further, check out our suggested Local Beer Bar Crawl Through Graduate Hospital. (It’s a doozie.)

Sprung will also have a trolley running a loop from Broad Street up to 23rd Street on Lombard and back down to Broad on South Street. But in beautiful April weather, we feel like you should probably enjoy the stroll.

Tickets to Sprung are available online.

Sprung: South Street West’s Springtime Pub Stroll
When: Saturday, April 26, 1-7 p.m.
Where: Participating Graduate Hospital bars
Cost: $8 in advance, $12 day of
More info: www.sswba.org

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April 17, 2014

The Philly Black Gay Pride Festival Returns For Its 15th Year Of Parties, Pageants, Dating Events And More, April 20-27

The Gayborhood (and beyond!) plays host to a number of events for the 15th-annual Philly Black Gay Pride festival, April 20 through 27. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Philly Black Gay Pride Festival, an annual fête that brings a slew of pride-building events to the Gayborhood and beyond.

Beginning on Sunday, April 20 and running through the following Sunday, April 27, the festival invites the LGBT community to celebrate at an array of events.

The fest starts with a Mr. and Miss Black Gay Pride Pageant under the theme of “A Night in Rio” at the Adrienne Theater on April 20. On Monday, April 21, the younger generation is invited out for a youth roundup complete with food, games, leadership discussions, a talent show and more. Friday, April 25 marks the kick-off party for the Penn Relays at the Holiday Inn at the Stadium which is set to offer guests food, drinks, raffle opportunities and more.

Throughout the week also look forward to speed dating, a Broadway-themed brunch, a poetry slam, party nights and more.

The festival closes out on April 27 with an all-day party at Raw’s outdoor courtyard featuring happy hour specials and finale events.

The full festival lineup is available right here.

Philly Black Gay Pride Festival
When: April 20-27
Where: Various locations
Cost: Varies
More info: www.phillyblackpride.org

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April 17, 2014

Spring Festival Alert: The Annual Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival Returns To Take Over Five Blocks Of Walnut Street On Saturday, May 3

The ever-popular Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival is set to fill Walnut Street with food, vendors, music and fun on Saturday, May 3. (Photo by E. Mencher for Visit Philadelphia)

Heads up, festival fans. A lineup of blockbuster spring festivals hits Philadelphia on Saturday, May 3.

The Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival, one of Philadelphia’s most-anticipated and best-attended festivals of the year, arrives on Saturday, May 3 from noon to 6 p.m.

More than 50,000 people from across the entire region are expected to attend the daylong fest, which takes over Walnut Street from Broad to 19th streets, and showcases the city’s finest food, fashions and live entertainment.

Come hungry, as dozens and dozens of restaurants will set up shop along the sidewalks of Walnut Street to serve up samples of spring fare. There’s also tons of live music, a fashion show, free wine tastings and more.

If you can’t wait until the alfresco street fair on Saturday — or favor cocktail parties over family-friendly festivals — snag tickets to the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival Preview Party at The Rittenhouse hotel on Thursday, April 24 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

The swanky soiree includes extensive tastings from participating restaurants, a silent auction, live music and a cocktail competition featuring more than a dozen inventive cocktails from area bars. Preview party tickets are $75 for general admission, but for $125 guests also receive admission to the Starr Restaurants-fueled VIP lounge during the festival with complimentary cocktails, wine, beer and snacks.

Tickets to the preview party are available online, and admission to the alfresco festival is free.

Stay tuned for complete information on the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival, as well as the additional spring festivals hitting Philadelphia on Saturday, May 3 including the South Street Spring Festival, the Philadelphia Science Festival Carnival on the Parkway and Plazapalooza in Graduate Hospital.

In the mean time, mark these days on your social calendar!

Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival
When: Saturday, May 3, noon-6 p.m.
Where: Walnut Street between 19th and Broad streets
Cost: Free
More info: www.rittenhouserow.org

Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival Preview Party
When: Thursday, April 24, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Where: The Rittenhouse, Grand Ballroom, 210 W. Rittenhouse Square
Cost: $75, general admission; $125, VIP
More info: www.rittenhouserow.org

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